Things that have changed

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This is a personal question. This is one you will not find at a B &B conference...

What has changed in YOU or your spouse personally since taking the B&B journey?

Example: Dh used to be more laid back and easy going, he no longer is. Or I no longer wish to socialize, as I do that every day as a job...I no longer stay out late. Etc.

Have your interests changed?

Have your personal habits changed?

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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What's changed for me:

I'm more confident in the experience I provide. The wacko guests that just don't get what we are doing here have toughened my shell. I've learned to say "NO" and really mean it.

My relationship with DH has changed dramatically. Before we bought the b&b we rarely saw each other. We got married while we were in escrow with the b&b and then started our married lives living and working together 24/7. It totally changed our dynamic with each other. Telling each other what to do in a business can be difficult. We are both stubborn! I realized fairly early on how important it is to take vacations...it's when we are able to reconnect as a couple, and not innkeepers.

I knew I always loved to be in nature, but now after living in a rural small town atmosphere, I realize that I could never live happily in a city again.

Learning that you just can't sweat the small stuff was a big one for me. I fight the perfectionist in me, where in my old career it's what I had to focus on.

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My partner/other Innkeeper has started grumbling about guests (behind closed doors) more and more.  It's a sad change because she's always been the happy one in any group.  Forever smiling, seeing only the good in everything, not letting anything get her down.  I've never known anyone so inherently happy.  But, lately that has slightly changed.  I told her the other day that I didn't like how she was changing.  She hadn't even notice.  It's only been 1 year, 9 months.  We have 3 years, 3 months left in our contract.  I fear those 3 years will erode what's left of my favorite person.

I was always and will always be a grumble-butt.  I'm better off behind the scenes, not front & center.  My Customer Service skills have improved and I have become alot more outgoing in public.  I've learned how to fake it.  But, I still have days when I'd rather hide behind the door than pass a guest in the hall & exchange pleasantries...  Some things will never change...

 

Like, Gillum, I have become much more active locally.  Board member of Business Association, Co-Producer of two large annual events, Board member of local AKC Dog Club, member of Volunteer Fire Dept Search & Rescue Team, currently taking First Responder class & expecting to take Firefighter course in Spring.  I've become a very recognizable person in town and recently noticed people stopping me to chat, but I have no idea who they are or where I might know them from.  This would have never happened in the larger cities I've lived.  There are so many opportunities in this small town and everyone is so nice & inclusive.  I'm trying to take advantage of what I can. 

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Please allow for the semi-annual innkeeper meltdown.

Sometimes it needs to happen to move forward... I used to call it annual, but now it is like a sale at macy's - semi annual!

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I pray that's what is happening to me!  I can't shake it.  Been hanging on for a month now!

OnTheShore's picture
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I think the "How's business/Have you had a good season?" questions are like the "Hey, how are you?" greetings you get when you encounter an acquaintance on the street. You answer, "Good, how are you?" or something similar rather than giving a full "organ recital" (as my aging parents refer to it). To me it's just a way of exchanging pleasantries while they are acknowledging that your business is a big part of your life. (Of course it helps that, for us at least, business has been pretty good this season....).

Likewise the "Have you been full?" questions. I doubt that they are asking if we are achieving 100% occupancy in a technical sense. You could just reply, "Better than expected," or "As full as I want to be," or something along those lines. 

It's the "How long have you been here?" questions that give me an opening to recite the history (abridged version) of our property....

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Harborfields wrote:

I think the "How's business/Have you had a good season?" questions are like the "Hey, how are you?" greetings you get when you encounter an acquaintance on the street. You answer, "Good, how are you?" or something similar rather than giving a full "organ recital" (as my aging parents refer to it). To me it's just a way of exchanging pleasantries while they are acknowledging that your business is a big part of your life. (Of course it helps that, for us at least, business has been pretty good this season....).

Likewise the "Have you been full?" questions. I doubt that they are asking if we are achieving 100% occupancy in a technical sense. You could just reply, "Better than expected," or "As full as I want to be," or something along those lines. 

It's the "How long have you been here?" questions that give me an opening to recite the history (abridged version) of our property....

I agree with you Harborfields, that IS what it is, for lack of something else to say. I would probably do the same thing. But what I tell them is a guest story and I know they will be sure to pass it on...for example, "the guests from Scotland here right now who..." or whatever...

It is just a break in my innkeeper mode, work work work, race to the store get what I need on my list...move move move...and then ten people will stop you. It is me being unfriendly... sometimes I push past and say "sorry guests are arriving any minute..." and they say Oh! By all means...

Did I ever mention they stop their cars in the road here to chat? One car one direction the other the opposite, driver window to driver window and chat as long as they can until someone finally says "WE NEED TO GET PAST ALREADY!"

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Harborfields wrote:

I think the "How's business/Have you had a good season?" questions are like the "Hey, how are you?" greetings you get when you encounter an acquaintance on the street. You answer, "Good, how are you?" or something similar rather than giving a full "organ recital" (as my aging parents refer to it). To me it's just a way of exchanging pleasantries while they are acknowledging that your business is a big part of your life. (Of course it helps that, for us at least, business has been pretty good this season....).

Likewise the "Have you been full?" questions. I doubt that they are asking if we are achieving 100% occupancy in a technical sense. You could just reply, "Better than expected," or "As full as I want to be," or something along those lines. 

It's the "How long have you been here?" questions that give me an opening to recite the history (abridged version) of our property....

I agree with you Harborfields, that IS what it is, for lack of something else to say. I would probably do the same thing. But what I tell them is a guest story and I know they will be sure to pass it on...for example, "the guests from Scotland here right now who..." or whatever...

It is just a break in my innkeeper mode, work work work, race to the store get what I need on my list...move move move...and then ten people will stop you. It is me being unfriendly... sometimes I push past and say "sorry guests are arriving any minute..." and they say Oh! By all means...

Did I ever mention they stop their cars in the road here to chat? One car one direction the other the opposite, driver window to driver window and chat as long as they can until someone finally says "WE NEED TO GET PAST ALREADY!"

Here they just wait patiently - no beeping, no yelling, no lights flashing.... AND if someone - even on the main drag, a US  Rte, it is not unusual for an on-coming car to stop or flash lights to go ahead and make your left turn. This is NOT an unusual happening.

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oops...I did that just yesterday crying Not really chatting but a quick little Hey where you go'in??? But then I saw traffic behind me..so pulled in and parked.

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Harborfields wrote:

I think the "How's business/Have you had a good season?" questions are like the "Hey, how are you?" greetings you get when you encounter an acquaintance on the street.

I had to start hedging on this one. When we had the big downturn I told guests the truth. They didn't want to hear that. So now I say, 'Great! We've had a very good season so far! Thank you for staying with us.' The only other people who ask are other innkeepers and my family. (They are still afraid I'm going to move 'back home' if this doesn't work out.)

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I run on the principle of (a) they don't really want to know and (b) its none of their business anyway - I have stock answers to

(1) gosh your a bit young to be doing this arn't you?

(2) How long have you been here?

(3) when I say about renovations I get this question - "so have you not been here long then?" answer - money doesn't grow on trees you know

(4) Gosh you are so lucky to have such a good location - yes I made a very smart and informed business decision - the house didn't just fall on me

(5) - where are your parents? At home having their tea I would presume

(6) Is there anyone in charge I could speak to?

(7) (on a Sunday morning with 11 changes to do, 5 dishwasher loads to go on and breakfast room looks like a bomb has hit it) oh well you can have a nice rest now we are all going or will you be going home now we are all gone?

(Cool and my personal favourite "oh now you've got breakfast done you've got the rest of the day to yourself isn't that nice?

And when I say - oh really pleased X won't be a problem any more -"so you're selling then?" this is always the question never oh so you are having a new one etc

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

I run on the principle of (a) they don't really want to know and (b) its none of their business anyway - I have stock answers to

(7) (on a Sunday morning with 11 changes to do, 5 dishwasher loads to go on and breakfast room looks like a bomb has hit it) oh well you can have a nice rest now we are all going or will you be going home now we are all gone?

Guests just said at check out they had hoped to have other people at the table, and I said "Yes me too!" DUH! YA THINK!

Then they said "Most of the B&B's they have been to are now closed and private homes...it was a total mystery to them why or how this could happen.

I said to them about a location not far from us, B&B's spring up, people build or renovate and pour all their money into them, and expect to get a quick return, and when it doesn't happen in 2 years they shut down. Just like a restaurant. They never consider buying an existing B&B...they are here on this forum every week, the same people, they won't listen to us. It will cost DOUBLE what you think it costs, to do anything, add a bathroom = double the cost. They do not get it.

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

(4) Gosh you are so lucky to have such a good location - yes I made a very smart and informed business decision - the house didn't just fall on me

That's funny. Sometimes people say "You have a lovely place" to DH and he replies "Yes, I know". They are a bit taken aback, but as I said to DH, it didn't happen by accident, we have a lovely place because we've invested a great deal of time and money in making it so!!!

camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

(and my personal favourite "oh now you've got breakfast done you've got the rest of the day to yourself isn't that nice?

That makes me want to punch them. Even my sister thinks that's the case.

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Highlands John wrote:

camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

(4) Gosh you are so lucky to have such a good location - yes I made a very smart and informed business decision - the house didn't just fall on me

That's funny. Sometimes people say "You have a lovely place" to DH and he replies "Yes, I know". They are a bit taken aback, but as I said to DH, it didn't happen by accident, we have a lovely place because we've invested a great deal of time and money in making it so!!!

camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

(and my personal favourite "oh now you've got breakfast done you've got the rest of the day to yourself isn't that nice?

That makes me want to punch them. Even my sister thinks that's the case.

and the comment, even today "Did you have to do MUCH?" 

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Even if you didn't (and I know you did) it all needs redoing periodically anyway, we did 7 and 8's bathrooms when we came here as they were awful - feel 3 years later they nearly need doing again as we have learned so much from the mistakes we made doing those 2!

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DH is becoming a great cook!  That is a true blessing!!!  wink

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I like me now! I did something besides raise kids - I raised a B & B in a town where people said - You moved here on purpose? and took that town into the 21st century. yes, i DID do it and my City Manager will tell you I did. She had said that in too many of her speeches.

I no longer hide my accomplishments. I engineered the City getting a web site - Council dithered about doing it for 2 years prior. I did so much marketing that the City recognized the need to market. I dragged my City Manager to a Trails Conference - for the next one, SHE told ME when it was!

Because of the B & B and the classes I went to, DH met the people who got him involved with the motorcycle shows which launched his art sales. A guest told US about post-polio syndrome and a few years later we were able to tell a guest about it - yes, she was tested and I was correct. She had it.

Because of the B & B, we are known all over the State and in many disciplines, not just B & B but it started with the B & B. I have come up with marketing ideas that have been adopted by others successfully.

I have even become a half-way decent housekeeper!! Gotta go. City Council meeting in 5 minutes!

I'm baaaack!

 

DH is more social. He was always a talker - but only when he came out of his cave. Now he comes ou of his cave all the time. He gets upset if he misses saying goodbye to most of our guests. there are a few he hides from. So much of what has happened to both of us in the last 18 years is because of the B & B.

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I am glad I retired when I did. I could not put up with what all of you have to put up with these days. When I got to the point I couldn't bare to tell the same stories over and over again, and all I wanted was my house back..then I knew it was time to close.

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I think I am VERY calendar conscious now. (I mean every moment of every day it is in focus!)

Just reading the last comment here I am thinking to myself "We are half way through October! nearly there...nearly there..." meaning the end of the busier time. So when I do plan something, it means A TON. I have a short getaway the first week of Nov booked and am counting down the days... I have to be conscious of every holiday, celebration, anything and everything that goes on, on any date, so I am ready for it, ready for the calls, ready for the 2 night mins, etc.

I find I cannot commiserate with the avg person now. Thanks to you all. I need you, I really do. No one else gets it. When they complain of laundry I just want to walk away...they have no idea how much laundry is involved when someone sleeps in a bed once and you have to change it all out...every single time.

I am more tolerant now. I know, don't fall off your chairs...I am tolerant, people. I have opinions, beliefs and I feel everyone is entitled to them and should hold them dear, but I appreciate everyone (as long as they aren't destructive to this B&B). I am less tolerant/patient with the boring accountants who dribble on about things, than the odd ball eccentric wacko guests, I adore the stranger guests, the odd balls. I like to observe them, talk to them, they always surprise me! Make my day interesting!

I am tired. All the time. Most of the time. Any chance I get to get away I take it and feel like I have made a jail break...

I no longer iron guests linens. I did for years, now I say stuff it. I buy the linens that wrinkle less...

I may wear the same thing two days in a row. Shhh! Don't tell anyone. I find a nicer outfit and then wear it half day and put it back on the next day for the next checkins...it happens, we have so many one nighters...I do shower. I know it seems weird.

I will avoid people at the grocery store because I don't want to be asked by every person "how is business?" and then discuss it with someone who has never stayed at a B&B in their life.

I relish my down time. If I can have a nap I am the happiest person in the world. If I can read a book and relax, bonza mate!

I have people in the weirdest walks of life in my cyber life now, that I respect and learn from. All over the world.

 

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

I am more tolerant now. I know, don't fall off your chairs..

Smiling OK, I'm trying really hard to stay in the chair Eye-wink

Joey Bloggs wrote:

 

I will avoid people at the grocery store because I don't want to be asked by every person "how is business?"

 

I can sure relate to that! Everybody, and I do mean everybody, who asks me about the guesthouse, and that's most of the people I run into, says, "Are you staying full?"

Full???? Uh, no, not even half full. But I'm WAY ahead of where I expected to be 4 months into this business. I'm delighted! But people look so disappointed for me when I tell them no, not full.

As Kathleen might say, I'm as busy as I want to be. If I get much busier, I'll have to hire help, and that opens up all kinds of new headaches and expenses. 

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Joey Camb's picture
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I find "how is business?" or this is another one less rude but more ridiculous is "have you had a good season?"

(a) How is business? - I consider this VERY rude - would you walk into a coffee shop and ask them and expect a full run down! - no you wouldn't so why is it acceptable for B&B owners? There are very few properties who run at 100% occupancy and it is usually those very near a very important tourist attraction etc so why should they expect that anywhere else does? would you expect your local supermarket to work at 100% all the time?

(b) in the UK only seaside places have a season - we are a largish town -with a large conference centre, 3 large theatres, businesses, 10 acre showground site, 25 wedding venues who do weddings 7 days a week now ie discount if you have your wedding on a Tuesday for example, 30ish events and festivals, and it goes on - you wouldn't ask a B&B in New York if they had a season would you?

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Just tell them, you are as full / busy as you want to be. If you are pleased, that is all that matters.

Or, you can say you are already ahead of your projections. Full is what you want it to be.

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Up until the last couple months (extreme burn out right now), I am just an overall happier person. Major career change from what I used to do (police dispatch).  I am FAR more active and have lost 70 pounds (not necessarily from the B&B, but I probably wouldn't have worked so hard at it in my old life).  I have a lot more friends that I feel I can reach out to - most are business owners and understand the stresses. These are all pluses. 

The negatives?  No job security, no health insurance, no sick leave...no benefits, period. Barely a  life outside of work - no opportunity to have normal relationship.  Exhausted - constantly lately, it seems.  Always a feeling of "hurry up and do this, because next you have to do that". 

Oh, I could just go on and on and on...

Good question.  I look forward to reading others' responses.

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Think I am more confident than I used to be or perhaps the word is pushy! I have to fight for my business and my town as well - before I was a small cog - now I would say I'm a medium sized wheel.

Ive never been much for evening socialising as I have a sleep disorder which is best managed with a regular bedtime so was never one of these out till 4am on a weekend types in the first place.

I am generally very tolerant as have a father who has a short fuse and I have always had to be the one to calm him down so have spent years training - however feel I have got less of a tolerance for small social interactions ie we always use self service at the supermarket things like that

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In spite of what you might think reading my posts I have a world more patience now than before. No I don't, who am I kidding.

I don't take guest crap personally. (Not as much anyway.)

I'm more confident in my ability to do meaningful work. (As opposed to just fixing computers like I used to do BBB - before B&B)

Carrying someone's suitcase does not make me a servant. (Still not interested in cleaning a bathroom while someone sits and watches me, tho.)

I am way more stressed than ever before. It shows in the photos we took early on vs photos taken recently. (Which is why that photo of us on the website is 9 years old.)

What hasn't changed - I still think people are good. Most people aren't out to take advantage. The ones who are have karma to deal with.

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Madeleine wrote:

In spite of what you might think reading my posts I have a world more patience now than before. No I don't, who am I kidding.

A wise lady once said: Spare me the perky.

I'm thinking it depends on the time of day you need the patience. In the morning as you flit table to table as social director, sure, you can bite your tongue and seem patient. Even BE patient. By afternoon when you are looking for that hole to crawl into and hide, yes. Spare you the perky!

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Arkansawyer wrote:

A wise lady once said: Spare me the perky.

I'm thinking it depends on the time of day you need the patience. In the morning as you flit table to table as social director, sure, you can bite your tongue and seem patient. Even BE patient. By afternoon when you are looking for that hole to crawl into and hide, yes. Spare you the perky!

I love that! Spare me the perky!

Afternoons are tough. There's 7 hours of work behind me and 7 hours in front. I really need the time to just sit down and veg. Mornings are all about getting everyone on their way so I can sit down and veg! Like right now I am just finishing a couple of blog posts. I'm beat. There's still laundry in the dryer.

I actually am patient in the morning once things get going. But, show me a dining room full of guests at 7:30 AM when the tables aren't set and I have to work around the newspapers, phones, iThings, etc and I am not patient at all.

We actually discussed this at dinner when a testy guest's disposition came up. This person was just not happy. Not with us anyway. She seemed to like the other guests but my guess is she is not a morning person. I said to DH, 'That's me, that's what I'm like. I don't travel well. I want to see it all but not before breakfast and not before 10 AM!'

This guest didn't like that there was only half & half, skim milk and whole milk as options for coffee. And that, for 2 days in a row, she poured hot water out of the tea kettle into her mug thinking it was coffee. Seriously, I need to take a photo of the breakfast set up. You have to be some night owl to not see the coffee. Or the mugs. Or the sign that says 'half & half'. Or the juice glasses. Or the juice for that matter.

This weekend alone I can't tell you how many people grabbed a juice glass and poured coffee into it. Or stood in front of the juice and asked me for a glass of OJ. Or asked where the coffee was. Or how to make tea. Or where the milk was. On the second day!

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Madeleine wrote:

This weekend alone I can't tell you how many people grabbed a juice glass and poured coffee into it...

I'm VERY lucky that I'm not at my guesthouse to see what they are doing. All I know is that so far nobody has broken anything. No stains I couldn't remove. No calls for help. 

So I really AM relaxed, unstressed, and love my guests, most of whom I never even see. I know the good times won't last forever, but these first four months have been a dream!

Sorry, I don't guess any of my story will help next time you're wanting to strangle someone perky.

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